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Water - August 20

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Leading Wall Street water analyst Neil Berlant: Price of water in US to rise up to 300% in next 2-3 years

Energy Tech Stocks
Memo to U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke: You’ve got a new inflation concern headed right at you - water. Over the next two to three years, the price of water may rise 200% to 300%, as the cost of critically-needed infrastructure repairs, greater purification for manufacturing and healthcare, plus more desalination plants, ultimately gets passed through to every American household.

That’s the view of one of Wall Street’s most seasoned water analysts, Neil D. Berlant, manager of the PFW Water Fund (Symbol: PFWYX), a mutual fund focused on companies involved in all aspects of water, including infrastructure, desalination, purification, disinfection and utilities.
(18 August 2008)




Millions eating food grown with polluted water, says UN report

John Vidal, Guardian
At least 200 million people around the world risk their health daily by eating food grown using untreated waste water, some of which may be contaminated with heavy metals and raw sewage, according to major study of 53 world cities.

Urban farmers in 80% of the cities surveyed were found to be using untreated waste water, but the study said they also provided vital food for burgeoning cities at a time of unprecedented water scarcity and the worst food crisis in 30 years.

The study from the UN-backed International Water Management Institute (IMWI), said the practice of using waste water to grow food in urban areas was not confined to the poorest countries.
(18 August 2008)



Water everywhere, and not a drop to grow

Colin Chartres, BBC Online
Limited availability of fresh water is often overlooked as a cause of food scarcity and environmental decline, according to Colin Chartres. Governments

should be ramping up efforts to make sure we have enough to grow crops as well as enough to drink, he argues.

Essentially, every calorie of food requires a litre of water to produce it As a consequence, prices for many staple foods have risen by up to 100%.

When we examine the causes of the food crisis, there are many contributing factors: a growing population, changes in trade patterns, urbanisation, dietary habits, biofuel production, climate change and regional droughts.

Thus, we have a classic increase in prices as a result of high demand and low supply. However, few commentators specifically mention the declining availability of water that is needed to grow irrigated and rain-fed crops...
(20 August 2008)
Dr Colin Chartres is director-general of the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a not-for-profit research organisation focusing on the sustainable management of water resources for food, livelihoods and the environment


West Bank struggles for water

Wyre Davies, BBC Online
The former United Nations Secretary General, Boutros Ghali, may not have been right when he said in the 1990s that the next major war in the Middle East would be about water, not politics.

His statement, though, accurately reflected the strategic and political importance of water in the region.

For Israelis and Palestinians the control of water is almost as important as the control of land.

This year, much lower than average rainfall has led to drought conditions.

In Israel it is only just beginning to have an impact, but just a few miles away in the occupied West Bank, the crisis is much more acute for the Palestinians living there...
(20 August 2008)




Can the Dead Sea be brought to life?

Hannah Doherty, WorldChanging
The Dead Sea has been a religious and cultural landmark of the Middle East for thousands of years. Saltier than the oceans, the lake is like none other in the world.

But in the past 30 years, the Dead Sea has lost about a third of its surface area. As much as 95 percent of the flow of its main tributary, the Jordan River, has been diverted for agriculture and domestic use. Excessive mineral mining for potash and magnesium chloride is removing water at a rate of 150 million cubic meters per year. As water levels drop by as much as one meter per year, the combination of diversion and evaporation is threatening both economic development and the natural oases that support the Dead Sea's unique ecosystem.

In an effort to halt the sea's rapid disappearance, Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, with the help of the World Bank, are proposing a project to import water from the Red Sea in the south. While dramatic engineering may be necessary to save this timeless attraction, environmentalists warn that less-risky alternatives are being ignored.

If built, the Red-Dead conduit is expected to cost $15 billion. Projects of this scale are not unprecedented, especially as water demand grows rapidly in many regions of the world.
(18 August 2008)

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